While bottled water is generally considered safe for drinking, plastic water bottles pose a serious threat to natural resources, including soil, air, and water. In turn, this threatens the safety of living organisms, including humans. Although recycling these bottles helps reduce their environmental toll, the world has yet to master the safest and most earth-friendly ways to recycle plastic. Recycled or not, plastic bottles are bad for the environment. When it comes to plastic water bottles, environmental safety is a concern across both value and supply chains. Read on to find out where your plastic bottles end up and what you should do to prevent plastic pollution.
About 60 million plastic water bottles end up in landfills every day. Every day! These bottles take at least 450 years to decompose. During the decomposition process, soluble particles from the bottles mix with rainwater and form a “toxic landfill soup” that contains carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. When these chemicals find their way into the soil and water bodies, all organisms in the food chain, including aquatic animals and humans, suffer the consequences.
Plastic Recycling Facilities
Only about 30% of plastic bottles undergo recycling in the U.S. However, this does little to reduce plastic pollution because most of the bottles are recycled into plastic bags and other plastic products, which eventually end up in landfills. Unsafe recycling methods also lead to the production of toxic gases, which are released, into the atmosphere.
Some of the plastic water bottles you dispose of end up being burned in incinerators. While this may seem like an effective solution to the environmental pollution problem, burning plastic bottles contributes to air pollution. Specifically, burned plastic emits harmful gases such as dioxins, mercury, furans, and polychlorinated biphenyls, which result in global warming, ocean acidification, and smog formation, harming living organisms in the long run. Additionally, it requires a lot of energy to burn plastic bottles in incinerators. Because most of the incinerators run on non-renewable fossil fuels, they contribute to further environmental damage.
In some cases, discarded plastic water bottles end up in garbage patches in water bodies, where they gradually release toxins into the water. These toxins, in turn, harm aquatic animals, eventually affecting every organism along the food chain.
How to Prevent Plastic Pollution
The average American dumps the equivalent of 100 plastic water bottles in nature annually. These bottles continue to damage the environment and threaten human and animal life long after being discarded. The only surefire way to prevent plastic pollution is to avoid using plastic altogether. This is an easy goal to achieve because the alternatives are already available. For instance, one set of filters in a countertop water purifier can replace 4,500 plastic water bottles. By just installing a water purifier in your home and shunning bottled water, you will not only have access to clean drinking water but also contribute a great deal to saving the planet. Small incremental steps to avoid using plastic or consuming things in plastic containers goes a long way in healing our planet.
At Genesis Performance, we believe in empowering you to “live in your prime” and doing right for humanity and the planet. Having an awareness of the harmful effects of plastics is the first step in doing our part as responsible human beings. Our team of expert professionals can help you incorporate exercise and wellness practices into your current schedule and inspire you to reach optimal health. We help clients across the nation virtually and are ready to help you get started today. Contact us today to learn more!